Sunday, September 27, 2020

FOLLOW ME 1969


"...into the bold, beautiful stoked whirl of today!"



     Following in the wake of Bruce Brown's ENDLESS SUMMER (1966) is this surfing "documentary" that follows three likable, good-looking, and always chipper young American surfers as they travel around the world looking for waves to surf and spreading good vibes wherever they stop. Mixing in some Monkees-style quick editing and quirky camera angles, it adds a female to the ENDLESS SUMMER male duo and features a great psychedelic pop soundtrack by Stu Phillips and David Gates with Dino, Desi, and Billy handling the vocals.
   Produced and directed by Gene McCabe, it features professional surfers in the main roles (which probably helps immensely if you're making a surfing movie) and here we have Bob Purvey (who narrates the film), Claude Cogan, and Mary Lou McGinnis. Three cinematographers are credited and the film features some truly spectacular surfing footage mixed in with twisting twirling camera shots and color tinting. Being a product of the times there's also has a zoom-happy lens diving into bikini cleavage and other physical attributes.




   Christening themselves "The Surf Corp" they jet off from Los Angeles and head off toward Portugal (with locations that bring to mind Soledad Miranda and Jess Franco's filmography) and then in turn visit Morocco, Ceylon, India, Hong Kong, Japan, and Hawaii. Using many of the tropes from ENDLESS SUMMER including humorous fake books with pasted on front covers along with some admittedly corny humor however,  the whole thing is done with such exuberance and fun that you can't help get caught up in it. The three main leads are perky & peppy to the point of annoyance and sometimes and the film descends into what seems like endless travelogue footage at some points but there is a charming innocence along with "the whole world as one" late 60's vibe.
     The admittedly threadbare plot follows the three around the world as the make various globe-hopping stops where the absorb the local culture and endear themselves to the local population. In Japan, there's a lengthy interlude in an indoor wave pool (which in 1969 was quite a novelty) and in most of the locations spend time teaching the locals how to surf.
    Totally devoid of narration and with no actual acting there's only Purvey's narration describing what's going on as the film relies on the spectacular surfing footage to carry the plot and luckily the film contains enough of this to help break up the travelogue footage and the sometimes corny late 60's sitcom humor (I kept thinking of the Bardy Bunch Hawaii episodes when watching this). An enjoyable and mindless way to spend 80 minutes and I was intrigued that I watched a film that brought to mind both Jess Franco and The Brady Bunch. 
















No comments:

Post a Comment